Judging by Dancing With the Stars‘ new standards, Monday’s episode of the ABC series was fantastic, simply because no protestors rushed the stage and derailed the broadcast. (Pretty low bar… but it is a reality competition show, after all.)
Still, even without any Ryan Lochte-related drama, the second installment of Season 23 was genuinely a strong outing. Confidence was higher, routines were more involved and, if Amber Rose and Maksim Chmerkovskiy’s Game of Thrones dance is any indication, the season’s entire set design budget has already been spent.
The first elimination of the season won’t happen until tomorrow night — but before we get your predictions on who will be ousted, let’s revisit the evening’s best and worst performances on TV Night.
BEST OF THE NIGHT
Laurie Hernandez and pro Val Chmerkovskiy (Jive) — In the interest of enjoyable recaps, I solemnly swear that Laurie and Val won’t be the only couple snagging top honors every week — but this early in the competition, how can they not? The Olympic gymnast’s energy was so infectious throughout her Ducktales-inspired routine, and her footwork so crisp, that it’s virtually impossible not to consider that Mirrorball hers to lose. At least until her fellow competitors rise to the occasion. Judges’ Score: 32/40
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and pro Allison Holker (Argentine Tango) — Who knew the X-Files theme music could be so sensual? Who knew Babyface could pull off those kicks and flicks so effortlessly? Who knew two dancers could get that close without actually kissing? Babyface and Allison’s steamy number left us with quite a few questions, but one very clear answer, too: The R&B singer should not be counted out as a real contender. Judges’ Score: 30/40
MOST UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT
Jake T. Austin and pro Jenna Johnson (Cha-Cha) — Go, Diego, Go! may have been the animated series where Jake got his big break… but couldn’t he and Jenna have finagled a Wizards of Waverly Place-inspired performance instead? Turning a theme song intended for 5-year-olds into a sexed-up Latin dance was just wrong — and the young actor’s sloppy footwork didn’t help, either. Judges’ Score: 24/40
WORST OF THE NIGHT
I think we all know who gets this honor. His name rhymes with Mick Cherry, and that 22-out-of-40 score was possibly a little too generous.
OK, your turn! Which Dancing contestant do you think will get the boot first? Leave your predictions in the comments section below!